Social media is quickly becoming the default way to communicate in our culture. And the power it provides us is astounding. With the click of a mouse, the entire world can know our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Every person now has a voice. The world now has access to our lives. Social media is a powerful tool.
Here is the truth about tools like social media. The greater the power, the more important it becomes to harness it. Social media can be used to draw people to God. It can be used to impact the world positively. But there is another side. A dark side. Social media also has great power to destroy. Tear down. Hiding behind a computer screen doesn’t change the reality…one click of a mouse (or trackpad for my Apple people) can alter lives. This is bigger than us. We must harness this power and use it for good. Use it for God. There is so much potential. But with great power comes great danger.
I want to list some ways Christians are improperly using social media. I hope this post resonates with people. How we use social media determines how others view us. But more importantly…how others view God. So, here are 6 really bad ways Christians use social media.
1.) An outlet when you are angry or frustrated.
Social media is not a place for people who have been hurt or angered. If you have been hurt, angered, or frustrated, walk away from any device that might allow you to post something on social media. Emotional responses on social media are dangerous. Here’s why…emotional moments tend to produce responses that are not reflective of who we are.
Social media is also not a place for you or me to tell the world that our boss sucks. It is not a place to trash talk a teacher. It is not a place to let the world know our friends are jerks. Tell me what this accomplishes? So, you have given him or her what they deserve? Good for you. So, tell me again how your comments have drawn people to Jesus?
The moment we click post or hit send, the world has access to our words. Do not allow your emotions to override your good judgement. When it comes to social media, be a reactor, not a responder.
2.) A platform to rant about political or cultural issues.
This is not a healthy practice. I see this too much from Christians. For followers of Jesus, ranting about the President or the most recent divisive cultural issue is never going to bring glory to God. I know you have an opinion. But how is blasting our government going to accomplish anything positive? 140 characters is not sufficient space to expound on anything meaningful. And, quite frankly, no one reads posts on Facebook that could double as a short essay or book.
Ranting on social media has the potential to lead to really unhealthy practices. There is no harm in being passionate about a particular issue. Just find another outlet to share those passions.
3.) A way to resolve conflict…or initiate it.
Trying to resolve conflict behind a computer screen is a really bad idea. The same is true with texting and e-mails. If a situation needs to be resolved, do something outrageous…give the person a call or set up a face-to-face meeting. Crazy idea, I know. Again, with conflict, emotions are often involved. When emotions are involved, social media is never a good option. A comment can be taken the wrong way. A post or photo can be taken out of context. So many potentially destructive things can happen. Don’t use social media to resolve conflict.
4.) A way to build meaningful relationships.
Social media is a great tool to supplement relationships…it is a terrible tool to build them. Here is a good rule of thumb…if you have not met the person, he or she is not your friend. You see, what social media has created is this dream world where people brag about having 1,000 friends they have never met.
Social media is a great tool to supplement relationships. It is a terrible tool to build them.TWEET THIS!
What have you gained if you have 1,000 Facebook friends but no meaningful relationships outside of a computer screen? Who cares how many Twitter followers you have if you can’t sit across the table and carry on a conversation with another person?
Do yourself a favor…stop bragging about your ridiculously high number of social number friends. Invest time in actual relationships. This is where transformation occurs. This is where meaningful conversations take place. Put the phone away when eating lunch with friends. Stop using breaks to go into seclusion and respond to a post or tweet.
5.) An outlet to send promiscuous photos, posts, or updates.
This is the really dark side of social media. Sexting is a growing epidemic. Platforms like SnapChat allow people (many of them unstable and unable to have perspective) to send photos as a desperate attempt for acceptance. These platforms also give boldness to men and women who are otherwise cowards. In this way, social media is destroying our culture. Especially our youth culture. Social media is not a tool to find acceptance. Once these photos, texts, or posts are sent to another person, you are not allowed to take them back. You are not allowed to hit the reset button.
I am convicted of this…parents need to have access to their child’s social media accounts. This is not helicopter parenting. This is responsible parenting. Yes, children should be allowed freedom. But it is dangerous to allow social media to be the area to let your child “grow.” There are too many people with evil motives. The opportunity to send revealing photos or texts is too easy. Parents need to take some responsibility here.
Image and reputation are infinitely valuable to every person. Protect them. No one else will. Before you send that text message. Before you post that photo. Ask yourself if this photo, text, or tweet will bring glory to God. As a Christian, your aim is to use everything you have for God’s glory. Social media is not an exception to this.
6.) A way to create a fake version of who you really are.
It is sad, but true…many people love social media because it allows them to paint a fake version of who they really are. Every picture shows them smiling. Every post leads others to believe life is great. This is one of the great deceptions of social media.
Using a computer screen to mask your true self is a really sad way to go through life. Be content with the man or woman God has created you to be. Stop trying to convince the world you are some one different. This is degrading to you. It is also degrading to God. This type of life is exhausting. It is not sustainable. Be YOU.
The world does not need to see an Instagram account full of happy selfies…the world needs to see men and women being real. The world needs to see vulnerability. The world needs to see that life is hard. Being a Christian doesn’t equal an easy life. Difficult days are inevitable. The world needs to see that God is enough regardless of the swirling winds around us.
This doesn’t happen on social media. In many ways, social media flies in the face of God’s nature. It is not all smiling selfies and sunny days. Don’t send the world a fake idea of yourself. Don’t portray to the world an inaccurate idea of the Christian life. Don’t paint a distorted portrait of God.
Let me be clear in saying social media has enormous potential to be used for good. Unlimited potential to point others to God. But Christians must stop using social media in a way that pulls others away from God and not towards Him.
Any place where the opportunity to do good exists, the opportunity to do evil lurks close behind. Be mindful of this reality.
Harness the power. Take advantage of the opportunity. But don’t fail to recognize the danger involved. The world has given us a powerful weapon. Use it to push back darkness and not increase it.
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!